A Quote from the Maharal of Prague

A Quote from the Maharal of Prague September 26, 2019

Carl Pace shared a favorite quote from the Maharal of Prague that I wanted to share here on the blog:

It is wrong for those who love research and knowledge to dismiss any position that opposes their faith, especially if the opponent is not intending to provoke or vex but only to express his own belief. Even if his words are antithetical to their own beliefs and their religion, they should not say, “Stop speaking, shut your mouth,” for if that were to happen there would be no clarification of religious matters.

For whoever acts in such a way as to shut someone’s mouth and prevent him from speaking demonstrates the weakness of his faith, as we have said. Th is is the opposite of what some people think, namely, that suppressing the freedom to speak about religious matters reveals the strength and power of one’s religion.It is not so, for suppressing the speech of a religious opponent is nothing but a sign of weakness in religion.

The quote is from Marc Saperstein and Jacob Rader Marcus’ Jews in Christian Europe, pp.448-49. It is Saperstein’s translation of a passage from Judah ben Loew’s 1598 work Be’er ha-Golah.

This was in response to my sharing the following article on Facebook:

Why ask big questions in Introduction to Judaism?

Another commenter said that she, and the rabbi at her synagogue, “would be boggled by the Christian groups that would come for a synagogue tour and leave dumbfounded that questions are encouraged. Sheesh! Don’t ask questions? Don’t examine one’s faith and teachings? Don’t ever challenge anything? How weak & pitiful it must be to be so fearful of inquiry.”

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